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ABILENE, Texas – McMurry University opens the fall semester this week with a number of events built around the War Hawk Welcome Week orientation and the beginning of classes on Monday, August 26.

United Methodist Churches from across Abilene will join with McMurry students, faculty and staff for worship services at 10:30 a.m. Sunday in Radford Auditorium. The featured preacher will be Christian author Sean Gladding. He is the author of “The Story of God, the Story of Us”, a book that began as a bible study developed through an internship at Mercy Street, a United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. He went on to co-pastor Mercy Street for seven years, during which time he and his wife Rebecca narrated the “Story of God” with people who had never heard it before or who had only heard fragmented versions. Hearing the “Story” with both the enfranchised and those on the margins has continually deepened participants understanding of scripture, and shaped their lives and the way they tell the “Story”.

Gladding also will preach at McMurry’s opening chapel service at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the campus quad, followed by a campus-wide picnic hosted by new McMurry President Dr. Sandra Harper.

Prior to the opening of classes on Monday, McMurry freshmen will be busy with a number of activities. On Thursday, August 22, they will travel to Camp Butman near Merkel to participate in a wilderness ropes course from 3 to 6 p.m. The freshmen will participate in community service projects from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, and get down and dirty at the annual Slime Olympics from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

War Hawk Welcome Week is designed to provide students with a life-long connection to McMurry through new friends, fun programs, team building and community services programs.